Sarah Alvi, Dubai
Microsoft has officially rolled out Windows 10 upgrade on Wednesday (29 July) in 13 cities: Dubai, Sydney, Singapore, New Delhi, Nairobi, Berlin, Johannesburg, Madrid, London, Sao Paolo, Tokyo, Beijing and New York City.
Dubai was chosen for its role as the “global player in the world of Information Technology,” says Microsoft Gulf’s Windows Business Group Lead, Mohammed Arif. “Microsoft is giving this special recognition to Dubai, along with 12 other cities around the world where we will celebrate the unprecedented role our biggest fans – more than five million Windows Insiders – played in the development of Windows 10.”
Anyone already using Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 can reserve a free upgrade which has been made available and will remain free for a year. The upgrade is only available to Windows Insiders (PC experts and IT pros) initially and will then be rolled out slowly to reserved systems in waves after the initial launch date. From August 1, 2015, Windows 10 Enterprise will be available to enterprise customers.
Sharaf DG, EMAX, Jumbo and other retailers around the UAE will be introducing programmes that will help people upgrade to Windows 10 easily. Data migration services that will enable people to move files from their old PCs to new ones will be available at the retail outlets, along with experience stations for people to try out the upgrade.
Windows 10 will have new features that will make it stand out from its predecessors. “Most of the apps have been configured to work in every region and certainly apps such as Microsoft Edge, Windows Hello, Office, Photos, Music and Xbox will subsequently be available for Windows 10 customers in UAE,” says Arif.
A new browser, Microsoft Edge, is going to be introduced, which enables the users to make comments on the webpage and share that webpage with others. It has a new reading view option that provides a ‘distraction-free layout optimized for screen size’ and allows the user to save the webpage or PDF file.
A biometric authentication system, Windows Hello, provides instant access to Windows 10 devices. It can work by using your either face or your fingerprint to log in in to new devices running the upgrade. However, Windows Hello needs a specialised illuminated infrared camera for facial recognition or iris detection, or a finger-print reader that supports the Windows Biometric Framework.
“Microsoft always goes an extra mile to provide its clients with a better experience with their apps of choice, both built-in and third-party,” says Arif.
Cortana, a feature that makes the Windows 10 desktops and laptops stand out from others in the market, is the personal digital assistant provided by Microsoft. Currently, it is available on Windows 10 only in USA, UK, China, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. It is not available in the Middle East market as of yet, though, according to Microsoft Gulf, it is being worked on.
A year-long initiative launched by Microsoft, “Upgrade Your World” celebrates those who inspire and empower others, with the aim of helping people achieve more through technology. Microsoft is going to partner with ten global and 100 national non-profit organisations, investing a total of $10 million to support these organisations with their missions and to promote awareness to their causes.
According to Arif, “The UAE has always been a strong supporter of our humanitarian initiatives and we believe that they will continue to do so as we work on projects and initiatives to upgrade the world. In September this year, we will be announcing the names of NGOs that we will be working with in the UAE.”